Nene had fallen asleep, with her phone in her hand when Wale came in. He watched her sleepy form, and wished he could give her the peace he saw on her face. He took the phone from her hand, intending to drop it, but his eyes strolled to the screen and saw that she had been chatting with Najim, or rather sending unread messages to Najim.
“I know you are alive, you bastard. What is the end game? If you didn’t love me, you could have just let me go, instead of punishing me for a sin I have not committed”
“Are you really going to pretend to be dead? What do you gain from all these people dying? I knew you weren’t one who cared much for the welfare of others, but you would never intentionally hurt someone, or so I thought”
“I am sorry for loving you, sorry for ever opening my heart to you. I refuse to accept the narrative, that Hausas are not capable of loving another. It is just you and not your tribe. As for you and Nabila, I am going to expose you and whoever is backing you”
Wale read all the messages and shook his head. He could read her pain hidden in the sculpted words. Then he typed a message of his own, he was not sure Najim would respond, and he was sure that it could jeopardize their mission, but he didn’t care. He wished that he could lay his hands on Najim, and inflict on him, the pain he was causing Nene. But he couldn’t, so he was going to hurt him with the next best thing, his words.
Wale: “I always knew you were less of a man, I use to wonder what Nene ever saw in you. When I looked at you, I saw a spineless man who didn’t deserve a brave heart like Nene. But I didn’t know that you had murdering tendencies. I just want you to know that Nene will not hurt for long, I will be there to heal her heart with my love” he typed the message and sent.
Najim left the kitchen where he was brewing tea, and walked past his mother who had stopped talking to him the moment he told her about the death scam.
Najim’s mother: “I didn’t train you up to turn out into this twisted human being. I didn’t support your relationship with her because it was meaningless. But for you to be so wicked and frame her for a murder that did not even happen… I never knew Nabila was such a she-devil” she had said and those were the last words she had spoken to him till date.
Najim walked up to his bedroom, and slammed the door shut. He saw his phone blinking the notification light. He assumed it was Nabila, for she was the only one who knew he was alive and not dead. He took up the phone and read the messages. His heart stopped for a second, he dropped the phone, and then he picked it up again. He hurriedly dialed Nabila’s number, for he wondered how Nene and Wale had found out that his death was a scam.
The phone rang for a while before Nabila picked. She sounded impatient as she asked him what he wanted. Then suddenly, Najim took the phone away from his ear and hung up on the call.
Najim: “Was I really going to report to Nabila that Nene is aware of the scam, was I really going to hurt her? Why do I have to hurt her in other to protect her?” he asked no one but himself. Then he began to type a message.
“I am sorry Nene for what I have done to you, and for how much I have let happen. But I did it for you, to protect you. Nabila threatened to kill you unless I cooperated with her. I reasoned that it was better you were in jail for murder than dead. I am a weak man, even you know that, I could not stand up against her because I was afraid. Nabila is backed by a powerful person, and I am still a weak man. But I loved you genuinely and I have never stopped” he sent the message and waited for a reply that did not come.
Wale was the one who read the message, after reading; he deleted it and put the phone in his pocket. When his conscience pricked him, he told himself that he was protecting Nene. He decided to check things out and ascertain the truth of what Najim was saying.
Wale took Nene to the place where a group of people who had fled the violence in the city were hiding. It was in G.R.A, in the house of a Lebanese man, who was sympathetic to the Igbos because his business partner was Igbo. They saw lots of people they had known in peace time, but none had the face of Nene’s mother. As she went round rooms, any flicker of hope that her mother was alive, died slowly. Wale asked if there were other sanctuary houses like this one, but no one knew, they only knew of the people that had lost their lives.
On their way home, they drove into a checkpoint manned by vigilante groups. They had a picture of Nene and were scrutinizing the faces of every occupant of the cars that drove through the checkpoint. Wale looked at Nene and saw fear in his eyes, which mirrored the one in her eyes. Nene was wearing her customary Abaya, and had a chador with a black lace veil covering her face.
Wale: “They could ask you to remove the veil” he said, echoing her thoughts.
Nene: “What do we do?” she asked, as Wale searched the place with his eyes. They were boxed in by cars on both sides, also behind and before them, and there was no way to reverse or leave the line. The line was crawling and slowly getting to their turn. Wale’s hand tightened on the steering wheel just as he heard a car start up. He looked sideways to see that a car had moved from their left side, edging forward. Wale did not give the next car the chance to move forward and box them in again, he swerved the car immediately and drove out of the line. He heard shouts as he navigated the dusty, side road, and then shots rang out. He yelped as one hit his arm. More shots rang out but he didn’t stop until he was safely away from the check point and on a road leading where he didn’t know.
But he was losing blood and consciousness. Nene swung into action, she pulled him away from the driver seat and took the seat. She drove them far away, and into a nearby village, where she knew they were not safe as non-indigenes. However she had a good idea of how she was going to convince them that they were Hausa.
Nene: “Please help, these infidels called the Igbos tried to shoot my husband to death. Help me” she said in Hausa. They saw her as one of theirs, and rallied round to help her. They took Wale to a room, and tried to do first aid, but they were inexperienced and Wale was losing more blood, his blood pressure was dropping fast and his heart was winding down. He was dying.
Nene’s mother had heard about the post Nene made on her Facebook group, and felt proud. Many people felt revived after reading the post Nene made in their defense. Everyone congratulated her for raising such a fine daughter. But she also knew that Nene was on the run, they said she murdered Najim.
Nene’s mother knew that her daughter loved Najim, there was no way she killed that man. She reasoned that they were framing her daughter for murder, same way they did to her husband. But what she couldn’t tell was, who the ‘they’ represented. Her daughter had said that there were people who would gain from the war, it sounded like a crazy conspiracy theory, but she knew her daughter to be a thorough person, who wouldn’t make such assumptions, without reason.
Nene’s mother: “Dike, can you help me? I need to find my daughter. Also, it is time for me to come out of hiding and let the world know what is going on here and how an innocent man was being used to carry out their goals” she said, with her jaw set in a hard line.
Dike: “ ‘Their’, who are these people?” he asked.
Nene’s mother: “What we will find out, if only we stop sitting on our butts and hiding” she replied. Dike saw grit in her eyes that had not been there when they first met, that fateful day when all had gone to hell. The crisis had changed a lot of people, especially this beautiful woman.
Dike: “Maybe you are right, but will the people support us? I already support you” he said looking at her softly.
Nene’s mother: “Maybe not all, but some will. I see a fire in their eyes, they want to stop hiding and fight, even if they lose their lives. It is better we channel the fire in the right path” she replied.
Dike: “Where do we start from?” he asked, for the first time he had met a woman, whom he could easily relinquish power to.
Nene’s mother: “First, we find my daughter” she replied firmly. There was no doubt in her mind what she wanted to do. Her husband would be proud of her.
Question: So mother and daughter would be united, that is if she gets to Nene before she is killed. Will Wale survive the gunshot wound? If he dies, who will aid Nene in her mission to exonerate her Father and the Igbos?
Stay tuned for Episode 15(You don’t wanna miss this!)…Adelove Stories…Premier Naija Inspirational Blog!
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